At the BRICS Summit, Xi and Indian PM Modi could have a bilateral meeting.
Beijing suggested on Saturday that President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have a private meeting while attending the BRICS leaders’ summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Bloomberg reported. This suggestion comes amid ongoing border tensions between the two nations.
During a press conference with the media in Pretoria, Chen Xiaodong, the ambassador of China to South Africa, made a hint about the meeting.
Chen stated, “I cannot say there is tension between us, but as neighbors we have many common interests at the same time we have some problems. I am confident that as two nations, two countries, we will have direct talks, direct meetings.”
While Xi will be in the country from August 21 to August 24, PM Modi will arrive in Johannesburg on August 22 in the late afternoon. Although there isn’t an official confirmation of a scheduled bilateral encounter, it can’t be ruled out given that the two leaders will be present at the same location.
It will be the first time since May 2020, when the two countries’ border impasse peaked, assuming the summit proceeds, which is still a significant “if.” The last time the two presidents spoke briefly was over dinner at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2022.
Beijing’s seeming mild stance at the most recent round of border discussions might potentially be used to determine the Chinese side’s persistence on meeting PM Modi.
Notably, both parties discussed making sure that no new posts are built in close proximity to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh during the Major General level talks conducted on Saturday (August 19). Both parties concurred on setting clear parameters for patrols.
Such border negotiations frequently end in failure because China takes an obstinate posture, but the meetings on Saturday were one of the rare times that Beijing seemed interested in resolving the border dispute.
The grouping’s growth has been one of the hot topics leading up to the summit. The main proponent of the extension has been China, which is using the forum to increase its geopolitical might against the US.
While South Africa and Russia support the choice, India is still unsure and uncommitted. India must support China if it wants to get its way.
The forum participants will meet in Johannesburg, Gauteng, at the Sandton Convention Centre (SCC), which is home to approximately 40% of the world’s population and 26% of its economy, respectively.
Along with Xi and Modi, the summit will also be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and President Luiz Lula da Silva of Brazil.